An extraordinary movie about the depth of the human heart and The compassion we as humans can, at times, show one another. Mix in football and you have a movie that will please everyone. You will be drawn into its charm and you won't want it to end. The interesting part about the movie is it is based on a true story. Art imitating life.
The movie is based on the novel, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis and adapted to the screen by John Lee Hancock. John Lee Hancock (The Alamo) also took on the direction chores and created this heart warming tale without going over the top. Pent Shed LeighHis subtle weaving of the plot lines from the past to the present is handled with a deft touch.The ensemble cast all give excellent performances and Sandra Bullock shines in this role.
The story revolves around Big Mike who is black and a teenager with an absentee father and a drug addicted mother. Big Mike, Quinton Aaron, has had a hard life living with relatives and abusive foster parents. Big Mike is over six feet tall and has a massive body and looks intimidating yet, he is shy and introverted. He finds shelter where ever he can and resorts to living on the street at times.
Leigh Anne Tuohy, Sandra Bullock, (The Proposal) is a human dynamo of a personality and has married well. Her husband Sean,Tim McGraw,(Four Christmases, owns several chains of fast food restaurants and they live comfortably. Their son SJ, Jae Head, is a ball of energy and has inherited his father's business sense. Their daughter Lilly, Lily Collins, is a popular girl on the cheer leading squad.
SJ befriends Big Mike at school with no fear about his intimidating size. Leigh Anne begins noticing Big Mike when she picks up SJ from school and asks SJ about him. Not long there after, on a cold and rainy night, the family is returning late from an outing. Leigh Anne spies Big Mike walking along the side of the road and her empathy overwhelms her and she firmly asks Big Mike to stay the night at their house. The next day Leigh Anne asks Sean if Big Mike can stay for a while. Sean finally agrees and laughs, saying he knew what was going to happen when she got that look in her eye. You could tell he had seen it before and she was on a mission. Big Mike agrees to stay slightly in awe of Leigh Anne and the warm family setting.
Big Mike has been noticed by the football coach Burt Cotton, Ray McKinnon, who instantly sees what a benefit he would be to the team. Unfortunately, Big Mike's grades aren't good enough to be eligible so the Tuohy's hire a tutor Miss Sue,Kathy Bates, (Revolutionary Road) to help him. Big Mike finally makes the team as an offensive left tackle but, Coach Cotton finds out he is a gentle giant. He is playing miserably. Leigh Anne steps in and explains in a way Big Mike can understand what he is supposed to do. He then begins to play with incredible intensity and is unstoppable. Leigh Anne being a force of nature walks by and smiles at Coach Cotton and says he can thank her now.
SJ just loves Big Mike and they start bonding and Collins feels the gentle spirit of the big guy and begins to form a relationship with him. The Tuohy's ask Michael as he is now called if they can adopt him and he agrees. Leigh Anne begins her quest to get all the necessary paperwork and permissions. There is a memorable scene when the fearless Leigh Anne visits a seedy area of town and is confronted by a bunch of brothers.
Michael is now a star offensive left tackle and is drawing the attention of the major universities football programs. There are some great scenes with J acting as Michael's agent with the college coaches. You will die laughing at his Jerry Maguire style antics. Michael's grades are still borderline so Miss Sue continues to tutor him,as well as, push him towards accepting her alma mater and the Tuohy's. You can guess by now trouble is on the horizon with the adoption process and Leigh Anne and Michael have some issues. Michael realizes that Leigh Anne is really there for him and he confronts the trouble maker and wins.
The end of the movie is a true gem with SJ leading the team on the field. Michael becomes an All American Offensive Left Tackle and has a successful college career. The finale is memorable with Michael turning pro and going in the first round.
Sandra Bullock gives a powerful performance and got wins in the Best Actress category from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. Need I say more. Tim McGraw gives his best performance to date and deserves some credit for his work. Jae Head (SJ) is a surprise and gives a dynamic and humorous performance. Hopefully we will see him in the future. Kathy Bates gives another fine performance as Miss Sue, and is a treasure in any movie.